One of Australia’s most respected artists, Rees spent most of his life in Sydney, following initial training as a commercial artist in Brisbane. He travelled Europe in the 1920s and again in the 1950s and 60s, absorbing the work of masters from Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot to JMW Turner. Rees was a skilled painter, draughtsman and printmaker, who favoured landscape and architectural subjects. His approach varied throughout his life, from the meticulous drawings of the 1920s and 30s, through to Turneresque visions of light and colour in his late works. The Gallery has the most extensive collection of Rees’s work of any institution.
The summit, Mt Wellington II 1973
This drawing sums up Rees’s life-long approach to art, in which emotion and observation are finely balanced. It’s an example of masterly draughtsmanship. Finely wrought marks and dots of black ink made with a fine pen contrast with the areas brushed in washes of black and grey. Watercolour has been added to evoke the texture, colour and hardness of granite – a familiar feature in the Australian landscape.
Rocks held particular significance for Rees, suggesting permanence and acting as symbols for the composition of the earth and its part in the universe.
- View The summit, Mt Wellington II in the collection
People and places
Mount Wellington dominates Hobart and the Derwent Valley, seemingly changing in mood according to weather conditions and occasionally disappearing from view when shrouded in clouds. There are many images of it by early 19th-century artists and many since, including countless snapshots by tourists to Tasmania who climb or drive to the top, on a road first built by convicts, to experience the view.
Rees produced a series of works in the Gallery’s collection in different media of boulders on Mount Wellington.